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28 April, 2007

Free 2 Mbps Broadband for India - Expensive Rubbish for Australia

Two megabits per second broadband access is something that people like me, living in Brisbane, Australia's third largest city, can only dream of. The only broadband service provider that covers my area, a company called Telstra, provides a 3G wireless network that they say can reach 1.5 Mbps but which I have only ever seen running at a third or sixth of that speed. 2 Mbps would be luxury.

Free broadband is an impossible dream! The money-grubbing bandits (sorry, I meant to say responsible managers) at Telstra charge me AU$80 per month for this pathetic service and that has a 1 gigabyte cap on traffic! The very best they can offer on their pathetic service is a 3 Gb cap (which costs AU$145/month). If you want more than that, you pay 15c/megabyte extra for what you use.

I have mentioned before how poor and limited the Telstra service is, and how jealous I am of my European friends who have far superior service at far lower cost. Now it looks as if I have to add my friends (well, friend, anyway) in India to the list of people I'm envious of. The Indian government has announced an amazingly far-sighted and progressive programme to roll out free, 2 Mbps broadband to every resident in the whole country by 2009. This follows a similar but less ambitious announcement by the European Union. And the United Nations' declaration that broadband should now be considered a utility – on a par with water and electricity.

When you listen to the pathetic excuses of the Australian federal government for why Australia has such terrible broadband coverage and such slow and expensive service (vast distances to cover, widely-spread rural populations, blah, blah, blah) it makes you want to give them a good shaking. Guys, India has the same issues. If India can do it, so can we.

The country is run by complacent, self-obsessed morons with no vision and no interest in anything except grabbing and holding power and wealth. Come the revolution, I want them sentenced to live in rural Australia with no income except one of their own 'work for the dole' packages. Until then, the rest of the world presses on into the 21st Century while Australia slips quietly backward into the 19th.

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